Sonic Mania is a fast-paced platformer which contains the soul of the old school Sonic games. Like with most of the Sonic games, Dr. Robotnik is up to no good and has acquired the Phantom Ruby. Sonic must now traverse across 12 unique and distinct zones to defeat Dr. Robotnik’s evil machinations and retrieve the Phantom Ruby.
Amazing graphics and music – Sonic was always known for its charming visual style and upbeat music which accompanied the game’s stages. Sonic Mania follows in suite of its predecessors containing up to date visuals whilst staying true to the classic style of Sonic. The music in the game is exceptional as every zone has its own distinct music and there are many old tunes for the long time Sonic fans which is a great throwback. The sound effects heard in-game are also loyal to the original Sonic games, from collecting rings, power-ups or using bouncy springs to launch yourself across chasms.
Abundance of modes and secrets – Sonic Mania goes above and beyond when it comes to delivering content to the gamer. Apart from the story mode (Mania Mode) the player can unlock a competitive mode which allows 2 player split screen game-play in which you can race a friend to the end of story mode stages. There is a ‘Time Attack’ mode that allows you to select the zone and act you wish to play to try and complete it as fast as possible. In addition to these “normal” modes, Sonic Mania also offers many secret unlockables. By collecting 25 rings and passing through a checkpoint, one can access a special “Blue Sphere” mini-game which is identical to the special stages found in Sonic the Hedgehog 3. Upon completing these mini-games, you can then obtain gold and silver medals depending on your score. These medals unlock additional secrets, such as a Debug mode or Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean machine. There are also many more secrets to unlock which have not been listed.
Diversity of characters and long story – One of the first things that is noticeable when starting the main story is the freedom of selecting your character. Sonic, Tails and Knuckles are all playable in Sonic Mania which caters to different play styles. Sonic is fast and agile and many players may be comfortable with his speed, whereas Tails and Knuckles fall into niche roles. Tails is slower but can fly and cover great vertical heights quickly. Knuckles, like tails gives extra mobility by offering the ability to glide and climb up walls. Depending on the type of player, they can choose the character that fits their play-style for a more personalized experience. Additionally, Sonic Mania has 12 zones each with 2 acts totaling 24 main levels not including any bonus or special stages that the player can come across. In addition to the vast number of levels the player experiences, there are also many different environments that the game takes place in such as: A film studio covered with lights and cameras to an underwater city or the wild west. Sonic Mania utilizes many different themes to enhance the game-play experience and offer great visual effects. Each unique level offers new game-play mechanics as well as introduce new and exciting methods of travelling through the stages which keeps in with the theme of the level. For example, in Press Garden Zone Act 2, the wintry settings and enemies can freeze Sonic and whilst frozen he can break objects which normally cannot be destroyed such as spikes. This new game-play mechanic is unique to this zone and is required to progress through the stage or to uncover additional secrets such as power-ups, extra lives or giant rings which grant access to the elusive chaos emeralds.
None! – Sonic Mania is a brilliant game and throughout playing the game, there were no audio or visual bugs experienced. No glitches were observed and the controls were perfect. No major downsides could be observed with Sonic Mania and by listing anything small or redundant, it may seem like nitpicking and thus no downsides will be listed.
Sonic Mania is the Sonic game everyone has been waiting for. It captures the essence of the retro sonic games whilst also building upon its foundation. Many throwbacks are included for the old school fans but it does not alienate any new players. There is a great variety of bosses, zones and secrets for players to experience. This is a game everyone should experience.
- Graphics - 95%95%
- Gameplay - 95%95%
- Controls - 100%100%
- Audio - 95%95%
- Achievements/Trophies - 90%90%
- Value For Money - 90%90%
Sonic Mania was developed and published by SEGA. The game released on Xbox One [reviewed], PlayStation 4 and PC via Steam on August 15th, 2017. A press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.